Some fans will celebrate the arrival of the best pass-rusher available in free agency. Some fans will recoil that their team brought in a player who was accused of assaulting and threatening to kill an ex-girlfriend last spring.
The Cowboys have had a history of taking chances on risky character players that pre-dates owner and general manager Jerry Jones. Some have worked out. Some haven’t.
Hardy is the latest risky addition and the social commentary since the Cowboys signed him Wednesday has been plentiful.
WFAA's Dale Hansen gave a passionate take on Wednesday night.
Over at Bleacher Report, Mike Freeman believes the Cowboys have sold their soul for Hardy. Dallas Morning News metro columnist Jacquielynn Floyd wrote she wishes the Cowboys said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and passed on the talented pass-rusher with a troubled past.
Jane McManus at espnW.com believes if the NFL doles out a suspension to Hardy it must stick with the decision. But she wonders if the charges being dropped when Hardy’s ex-girlfriend refused to cooperate with authorities after she received a settlement creates a loophole in the NFL’s new personal conduct policy.
Here is the dilemma for the NFL; How can it show that anything has changed if a man who was found guilty once but had the decision vacated because, the prosecutor alluded, the victim reached a civil settlement with the player? That looks like the way powerful men have always done business.
The potentially fat contract and upbeat statement from Jones only reinforce that impression. So if the NFL hopes to change that narrative, the suspension is the last chance.
The Cowboys were aware of the potential public relations firestorm resulting from the addition of Hardy. It looked in poor form for the team’s television and social media departments to hail the addition of Hardy on Wednesday afternoon as some sort of coronation.
But the Cowboys have been through these situations before. Again, adding players with baggage has not been a thing that's just happened in the Jerry Jones era. They happened when Tom Landry was coach as well (for example: Hollywood Henderson, Lance Rentzel and Bob Hayes). And they will happen again in the future.
There are two sides to this story and we’re not talking about the legal case. There is the balance between indignation for a move like this and giving a player a second chance. I wrote that Josh Brent had every right to play in the NFL again -- I just felt it should not be with the Dallas Cowboys.
I understand why the Cowboys signed Hardy. I believe they did their due diligence. I believe they asked the right questions in their meetings with Hardy. I believe he told them what they wanted to hear.
When Hardy records his first sack some time in September, he will be cheered and all -- perhaps sadly -- will be forgotten and forgiven.